Sacrament talk Feb 25 2018 - used some of the same information from my talk in july 2016.
I think human nature is so funny sometimes. Some have overcome and don’t have this problem anymore but those of us that still have issues with procrastination understand me when I say even if we are given our topic for a talk in sacrament meeting a month in advance, we still write it the day before. That said though I DID go to the temple this week (which I used to be so good at doing regularly but lately I have need to repent) and Reed and I went to the Disciple Leadership Conference yesterday which was amazing so I am on a spiritual high this week 😊 and I think those helped as I wrote this talk. I’m also not one that can have a few bullet points on my page and expound on them while looking out to everyone, I have to write my talk word for word or I have trouble, which was a lesson I learned the hard way 😊 so please bear with me.
My topic today is one of my favorites. How CAN we get more out of the Sacrament?
A New Era article had this list of things that we can do to better prepare for and participate in the sacred Sacrament ordinance and meeting. It said:
Ever hear someone say, “That was a great sacrament meeting,” and wonder if they were in the same meeting you were in? Sacrament meeting is intended to bless our lives, but in order to really get the most out of it, we need to invest a little of ourselves. Here are some suggestions about the sacrament:
1.As part of your daily study, read what the scriptures in the Topical Guide have to say about “Sacrament.”
2. Prepare ahead of the meeting. Arrive early, listen to prelude music, and seek revelation.
3.During the sacrament hymn, really think about the words of the hymn.
4.Review in your mind just why you are taking the sacrament.
5.Focus on the prayers as they are being said. Think of yourself as being placed under covenant.
To get the most out of the talks in sacrament meeting be sure to:
1.Decide that you are going to learn at least one new thing from each of the speakers. Then, really listen.
2.If a speaker seems nervous, smile and make eye contact. Avoid whispering to others. You would want the same kindness and respect if you were at the pulpit. And your thoughtfulness will help invite the Spirit to teach you
3.Imagine you are going to have to write a report about a talk. What good points does the speaker make?
4.Write down questions about the topic of a talk so you can research them later.
5.Bring a nonmember or less-active friend. You’ll find yourself paying attention and learning more in case your friend has questions or wants to talk about what he or she has heard.
6.Remember that if you approach the talks with an attitude of wanting to learn, the Spirit can teach you the things you need to learn, even if the speakers don’t mention them directly.
I started off with this list from a New Era article because, in our current situation in life of being newlyweds and one day bringing new lives into the world if we haven’t already, we need to keep the basics in mind as we prepare to teach our children how to behave in and have an appreciation of Sacrament meeting and the sacrament.
A very important aspect of knowing how we can get more out of the Sacrament is learning about it.
President Dallin H Oaks said that “The ordinance of the sacrament makes the sacrament meeting the most sacred and important meeting in the Church.” Let’s ponder about that for a minute. Taking the sacrament in sacrament meeting makes it the most important and sacred meeting in our whole church. That’s huge. It’s up there with temple marriage sealings, temple endowments and initiatory and our own baptisms and baptisms for the dead. And yet, how often do we allow ourselves to only think about the sacrament in the moment that we raise the piece of bread or thimble of water to our lips and then go back to texting or playing games on our phone or a myriad of other possible distractions? We would never think to bring our phones past the dressing rooms in the temple or even our cars in the temple parking lot, but we can sometimes easily spend most of the time distracted by them in the most sacred meeting in our whole church. Let’s each of us make a goal now to show our appreciation for the Savior in using our time during sacrament meeting to solely think about and worship Him.
Elder Claudio R. M. Costa in October 2015 conference emphasized an important aspect of the sacrament. He said "The sacrament is a time for Heavenly Father to teach us about the Atonement of His Beloved Son--our Savior, Jesus Christ--and for us to receive revelation about it. It is a time to “knock, and it shall be opened unto you,” to request and to receive this knowledge. It is time for us to reverently ask God for this knowledge. And if we do, I have no doubt that we will receive this knowledge, which will bless our lives beyond measure." While pondering the meaning of the sacrament Elder Costa also said "My soul was filled by an overwhelming desire to be a better person. In repentance and sorrow, I fervently wished to be able to dry and avoid the spilling of at least a few drops of His blood shed in Gethsemane."
As we come to understand the meaning behind the sacrament we become more reverent during the ordinance and we are more desirous to ease Christ’s sufferings in the Garden of Gethsemane by avoiding sin and living better lives.
Some of my earliest memories of the Sacrament are those of my mother leaning over and whispering in my ear after she helped me take the bread or water, quietly explaining what we were doing. I remember also being impressed as to the sacrament's importance and need for reverence from a very young age because I would sometimes try to talk to my mom during the ordinance but she would ignore me and keep her head bowed and eyes closed. When she would whisper to me I remember that she would say things like "right now we are doing something very special. It's called the Sacrament. We must be very still and quiet when we do this. When we hear the young men pray over the bread and water we must listen very carefully. We must think about Jesus and say prayers in our hearts thanking our Father in Heaven for sending Him to us so that we can have a chance at going back home to Him. We must say we are sorry to Heavenly Father for the things we did wrong or that could have done better at during the week. We must think about Jesus Christ and promise him that because we love him we will always remember him and keep his commandments so we can have His spirit to be with us. " I'll always be thankful for my parents for instilling in my young heart a love and reverence for the Savior and His atoning sacrifice that's lasted until today. The sacrament for me has become a time of reflection and holiness that I look forward to and prepare for during the week. I know that every week there are many things I need to ask forgiveness for and change, and knowing Christ knows how I feel through it all is an incredible blessing and strength to me. Simply having the priceless gift of being able to participate in the sacrament at all humbles and fills me with joy and hope.
How should we prepare for the sacrament? President Russell M. Nelson taught, “We commemorate His Atonement in a very personal way. We bring a broken heart and a contrite spirit to our sacrament meeting. It is the highlight of our Sabbath-day observance.
We are seated well before the meeting begins. “During that quiet interval, prelude music is subdued. This is not a time for conversation or transmission of messages but a period of prayerful meditation as leaders and members prepare spiritually for the sacrament.
President Oaks said “The resurrected Lord emphasized the importance of the sacrament when He visited the American continent and instituted this ordinance among the faithful Nephites. He blessed the emblems of the sacrament and gave them to His disciples and the multitude (see 3 Nephi 18:1–10), commanding:
“And this shall ye always do to those who repent and are baptized in my name; and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood, which I have shed for you, that ye may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.
“… And if ye shall always do these things blessed are ye, for ye are built upon my rock.
“But whoso among you shall do more or less than these are not built upon my rock, but are built upon a sandy foundation; and when the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and beat upon them, they shall fall” (3 Nephi 18:11–13).
The sacrament is the ordinance that replaced the blood sacrifices and burnt offerings of the Mosaic law, and with it came the Savior’s promise: “And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost” (3 Nephi 9:20).”
In one of my favorite hymns, reverently and meekly now, verse two speaks of the sacrament in a beautiful way.
In this bread now blest for thee, Emblem of my body see; In this water or this wine, Emblem of my blood divine. Oh, remember what was done That the sinner might be won. On the cross of Calvary I have suffered death for thee.
I know the sacrament is so important for us to participate in and to be worthy of as we need it to renew our baptismal covenants. We aren't rebaptized each week but by taking the sacrament that's essentially what we are doing.
Verse four of that same hymn kind of reminds me of why we take the sacrament and live the gospel at all: it says: At the throne I intercede; For thee ever do I plead. I have loved thee as thy friend, With a love that cannot end. Be obedient, I implore, Prayerful, watchful evermore, and be constant unto me, That thy Savior I may be.
I love the savior and his example and I hope someday to truly comprehend and appreciate everything that the lord did for me and all of us. I love his gospel and for the opportunity to repent and be clean again every week and to never have any sins that are more than a week old. As we come to understand how the lord feels about the ordinance of the sacrament, it will help us get the most possible out of it and change our lives in the process.
I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.